During the coronavirus shutdown, each day we will bring you a recommendation from The Post’s Peter Botte for a sports movie, TV show or book that perhaps was before your time or somehow slipped between the cracks of your viewing/reading history.
Slap Shot (1977)
Streaming: Amazon Prime
Putting on the foil and making it look mean never have been so hilarious.
The rowdy and raunchy Paul Newman-led classic about a minor league hockey team — the Charlestown Chiefs (based on the Johnstown Jets) — from in a depressed, blue-collar mill town in Pennsylvania in the 1970s remains to this day one of those iconic sports films fans positively revere and can quote verbatim upon request.
The brilliant — albeit vulgar and now extremely politically incorrect — script was penned by screenwriter Nancy Dowd, later an Academy Award winner for the Vietnam drama “Coming Home.” Dowd’s brother Ned played minor league hockey for the Johnstown Jets and also portrayed goon Ogie Ogilthorpe in the movie. The film was helmed by George Roy Hill — the Oscar-winning director a few years earlier for the Newman/Robert Redford film “The Sting.”
Newman’s character, player-coach Reg Dunlop, was loosely based on John Brophy, who served that dual role with the defunct Long Island Ducks and was the all-time leader in penalty minutes in the old Eastern Hockey League (which folded in 1973).
The goonish and cartoonish Hanson Brothers — played by professional hockey players David Hanson and real-life brothers Jeff and Steve Carlson — only exaggerated a brawl-filled pucks era from the minors to the NHL, in which the Philadelphia Flyers’ infamous “Broad Street Bullies” squads that won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles (1974 and 1975).
The whole madcap season is chronicled by nutty radio broadcaster Jim Carr and local sportswriter Dickie Dunn, who famously was ‘just trying to capture the spirit of the thing.”
He most certainly did, as did one of the zaniest sports comedies ever made.
Quote of Note: “You do that, you go to the box, you know, two minutes, by yourself, and you feel shame. And then you get free.” French-speaking goalie Denis Lemieux on being sent to the penalty box.
Botte Blows: 4.5 of 5